Your family comes to us because you know that you can trust your oral health and overall well-being with our office. One of the ways that we keep our patients safe is to invest in the latest and most high-tech equipment possible. Today, we want to talk to you about our Cone Beam x-ray digital imaging machine – how it works and why it’s safe.
What is a Cone Beam x-ray?
The Cone Beam is a digital imaging machine that offers the most advanced technology for taking x-ray images of a patient’s mouth. The state-of-the-art tech allows for both 2D and 3D images of your child’s teeth and supporting bone structures. The idea of this machine evolved from medical CAT scan machines but has been developed specifically for dental offices.
By using digital 3D imaging, we are able to get the most accurate and precise look at a patient’s mouth without having to use invasive procedures. Our doctors simply wouldn’t feel comfortable treating (or imagine treating) your child in 2 dimensions or trying to treat them by guessing from a 2D image. Why? Because it doesn’t allow the doctor to see everything that’s actually going on beneath the surface. 3D images allow us to analyze not only their teeth, but the roots, sinuses, and airways, letting us put together the best treatment plan for your child’s individual needs.
· Less time to create than traditional x-rays (only seconds!)
· Easier to share with other dentists or specialists, if needed
· Lower dose of radiation than traditional 2D x-ray machines
· Lowest dose cone-beam machine in the world
Wait – What are Those Last Two?
Okay, so those first two are pretty easy to understand, but let’s delve further into the last two. We know that when it comes to radiation, there are a lot of concerns. In the most basic terms, those last two advantages mean that this is the lowest dose of radiation available from a dental x-ray machine. Keep reading to find out exactly what that means.
The amount of radiation that is absorbed by the human body is measured in sieverts. A sievert (Sv) represents the level of influence on the body when it absorbs energy from radiation. As you can imagine, the bigger the number of sieverts, the greater the effect it has on the body.
According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Americans typically receive a radiation dose of about 6,200 micro-sieverts each year. Approximately half of that comes from natural background radiation that occurs in sources such as the air, food, cosmic x-rays, and radioactive materials in the earth. About half of the radiation a person experiences in a year comes from natural sources, and the other half comes from man-made sources of radiation such as medical, dental, commercial, and industrial sources.
In the medical field, they typically speak about millisieverts which equals 1/1000th of a sievert. In dentistry, we are talking about MICRO sieverts which equals 1/1000th of a millisievert. So, it is significantly less radiation than the medical industry measures.
Our low-dose cone beam scan puts out 11 micro-sieverts, whereas the older 2D machines will put out 20 or more. In addition to the advantages we discussed above, one of the reasons that we invested so heavily into this machine is that it provides us a 3-dimensional look at your child with a lower dose than the 2D from the lowest dose machine in the world.
It is Safe?
The short answer is yes. The radiation that your child receives from these scans are 100% safe and should cause you no concern. When you consider that the average person in America gets 6,200 a year, it’s clear that the 11 micro-sieverts our machine puts out are a very, very low percentage of radiation.
To further put this in context, consider this: If we were to offer you and your child a free flight to New York, would you take it? Sure, you would.
Well, that flight from LA to NY is 40 micro-sieverts and we don’t even think twice about it. And you have to come back! The average person is subject to 10 micro-sieverts every day just from the environment and we ingest more than 1 micro-sievert a day, on average.
We’re Committed to You
We at Carmel Valley Orthodontics are the utmost concerned with your child, and all of our patient’s well-being. We want to create beautiful, healthy smiles in the safest ways possible. That’s one of the reasons we invest in the technology that we do. If you ever have any questions about the safety of one of our machines, a procedure, an appliance, or a treatment plan, we WANT you to discuss it with us. There is no length our team won’t go to make sure that you are happy, comfortable, and confident in the care you’re receiving. Contact us anytime.